Stowe Boyd on Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

The self-described media subversive talks about the provocation of Web 2.0 and the fear of change.

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CIO: That reminds me of some of the angry feedback CIO has gotten on articles about "shadow IT" and the thought that users are bringing into the enterprise various technologies. What are your thoughts on that?

Boyd: I was at a big energy conglomerate a few years ago to talk to the CIO. I started my presentation. When the first slide—which was about instant messaging—went up, he said, "That's all very interesting but we don't allow instant messaging here. "

I went in the hall, and I got the AD guy who had set up the projector to come in, and asked him, "So how many people in the building use IM?" He said, "Oh, 50 to 60 percent." A lot of people just want to wish it away. Beyond that, it's very difficult to plug all the holes.

CIO: So what will change the receptivity to Web 2.0 tools in the enterprise?

More on Web 2.0

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Boyd: People like JP Rangaswami can revolutionize major corporations. It needs to be a person like that. You have to have people who are incredibly strong, incredibly visionary and are willing to embrace the benefits of openness and transparency. This is a guy who has an open e-mail policy; he gives access to his outgoing e-mails to everyone on his staff. They can read everything. His staff learns a tremendous amount about what's he's thinking from reading his sent e-mails. Now that's a revolutionary approach to e-mail. There aren't very many JPs in the world, but you compare him to the typical CIO of large corporation, and they're exactly the opposite, they are more worried about control. Worries about control, that's the more the typical thing I would expect to hear.

CIO: But isn't security important?

Boyd: Security issues are important, but you don't want fear to dominate everything; it will stop innovation. It reminds of that science-fiction story in the future where the robots wouldn't let humans do anything. All humans could do is sit in a chair with our hands folded, robots did everything else for us. If you live like that, you don't get anything done.

JP proves how good it can be. In the best organizations, leaders will adopt the technology and figure out how to mitigate the risk.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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